SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The Thessalonians are told to "live in order to please God." They are told to avoid sexual immorality. (Sexual immorality would consist of sex outside of marriage.) (In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus says that even lusting for someone who isn't your spouse is not acceptable.) Paul writes that living this way keeps followers of Jesus from wronging other people.
- They are also encouraged to love each other "more and more."
- They are taught to live "a quiet life." Instead of getting into other people's business, we should work hard and serve people and live a life that wins the respect of others.
- Paul then clarifies a teaching that the Thessalonians were confused about. He says that Christians have hope for life after death. Since Jesus died and rose again, so will those who followed him and then "fell asleep" (died). In fact, Jesus himself is going to come back to bring his followers to be with God forever.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Our lives should be about loving God and loving people. But love isn't just having warm feelings. Loving includes obedience to God and doing what's best for other people.
- Jesus is going to return, and there is life coming after this life. That gives us reason to hope, no matter what is happening.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In what ways are you currently not loving God, or not loving people? Here's the test: Where are you not obeying God? (With your sex life, or thought life about sex? By not tithing your money (giving God back ten percent)? By not sharing your faith?) A lack of obedience is a lack of love.
- Where are you not doing what's best for another person? (By not being a servant in your home? By speaking harshly to people you're supposed to encourage? By having sex with someone you're not married to?)
- Does the promise of Jesus' return and your future in Heaven encourage you daily? If not, how could you allow it to do so?